BY KATHY BEST, CNT, CRRC, ACCR, PSDC , October 31, 2019
The intensity of the people, places, circumstances, and activities that scare us remain fixed, or does not change. Our fear of such, although, can intensify or increase based upon our thoughts and beliefs. When you are fearful of something or someone and you continually imagine all that could go wrong your mind does what it thinks you want it to do and magnifies or intensifies the energy stimulating your fears. An insignificant trace of anxiety can effortlessly develop into a full blown panic attack paralyzing you into inaction. When we stop and take a few minutes to reevaluate our fear, or even try imagining how things could go well we can start retraining our mind to operate in a more positive way. If we then, can convince ourselves to move through the fear and face something unknown or uncomfortable we often discover that the intensity of our fear was out of proportion with reality. We even learn that some of our greatest blessings come from doing what scares us most. Confronting your apprehension readily will help you recognize that very few of our fearful scenarios will ever turn out as awful as the imagined disasters that we created in our minds. In fact, many will be the complete opposite of the horror stories we concocted.
Fear is an evolutionary gift meant to sharpen your senses and strengthen you during dangerous or extremely difficult events. It was never meant to become a normal, every-day occurrence that prevents you from achieving your potential or causes you to forgo fulfilling, life-changing experiences. When you first decide to move toward or through that which you fear, you may be deluged with negative thoughts and emotions. Simply accept that they are your mind and body trying to prepare you for something unknown and they are not an accurate assessment of the experience you will be undertaking. Breathe through it and affirm that you are stronger and more capable than you feel.
Whether your fear is talking to people you don’t know, asking for a raise, public speaking, starting a business, trying something new, or setting personal boundaries, each may be equally difficult in the beginning. Once you have moved through one unharmed, which you definitely will, you will question why you ever assumed the worst and look forward with eagerness to your next challenge. Worrying about unhappy or distressing scenarios is a learned behavior and it can be unlearned or replaced by more supporting behaviors. Regardless of the cause or tendency, facing your fears reassures you that many of your fears are unfounded and gives you confidence and calm in stressful situations. You may even feel like an enormous weight has been lifted off your shoulders, and a sense of pride and accomplishment are sure to follow. Moving through your fear can sometimes mean taking risks that others may not agree with. Some risks may not produce the intended result and others may produce beyond your wildest expectations. The key to successful risk-taking is starting small, using patience, practice, and making decisions from a place of calm, savvy judgement. Always start with small things when working on overcoming fears. They will be easier to tackle and the even small wins will encourage your self-confidence.
Each step you take toward your fears will strengthen your courage and resolve. It will make it easier to confront future fears with composure, confidence, and courage. You will also discover that Life comes to your aid and supports you every time you choose to move through your fears. Your faith in yourself and in Life with flourish once you begin to see the pinnacles of accomplishment and personal growth you can attain facing your fears. Each new challenge becomes easier and less stressful until the time comes when you don’t even consider failure or the worst case scenario, because you know in your heart and soul that you can absolutely handle anything that comes your way.